The Magic of Marrakesh

Posted on October 18 2017

El Fenn

On a recent trip to Marrakech, Morocco, I had the absolute pleasure  of spending time in the boutique Riad (guesthouse), El-Fenn. As an interiors lover, I found myself absolutely enchanted by this other-worldly location, and was thrilled to be able to do a bit of a 'show and tell' about my stay - and the styling inspiration I found there - in the latest issue of Your Home & Garden


El Fenn

About El-Fenn

Stunningly renovated by Vanessa Branson (the sister of Richard Branson) and her partner, this place is something seriously special. The pair stumbled across what was then a crumbling private home while searching for a place to make their holiday home. In the rundown property they saw potential for something spectacular, and after diving in, their dream was realised over a two year long renovation that saw all 28 rooms, rooftop dining spaces, relaxing nooks and countless courtyards, terraces individually decorated with great finesse. 

Marrakech in itself was an all-time travel highlight for me, but experiencing the magic of a place like El-Fenn was nothing short of a dream come true. A feast for the eyes, the breathtaking colours and absolute attention to detail, married beautifully with the relaxed nature of the space, was interiors heaven for me. Although the refreshed styling had brought a contemporary spin to the spaces, the original features were never compromised. Instead, pots had been left to age, plants allowed to grow wildly over the walls and polished lime plaster in every colour was on show, respectfully showcasing the spirit and the history and spirit of building’s past. 


El Fenn

Bringing a taste of Morocco home

While there, I remember thinking about how I wanted to take some part of that experience home with me. I would love Kiwis to take a page or two out of El Fenn's book in the styling and design of our own New Zealand courtyards and outdoor spaces - paying as much attention to them as we do our interiors and making them a special place to be.

In the latest issue of Your Home & Garden, I've pulled together some tips and locally sourced furniture and accessories to help bring a little bit of Morocco to outdoor spaces for summer.

Here's a few top tips from the feature - pick up a copy of mag to read the rest!

  • Create a focal point by hanging a series of lightshades in natural fibres above your outdoor dining table or courtyard, or along a balcony.
  • Create a textured wall by stacking your firewood high and carrying the natural colours through with burnt oranges and warm browns.
  • Use lanterns at night to accentuate a pathway, link multiple outdoor spaces or create a connection between indoor and outdoor rooms.

For more information, see

Photograph by Saad Alami (top and centre left), Joanna Vesty (centre right) and David Loftus (bottom).


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